Samsung HW-F750 Measurements and Conclusion
All measurements were taken in-room utilizing an OmniMic measurement system. 1/12th octave smoothing was employed and a 5ms blended response to help remove room interaction from bass frequencies.
In-room 2 Meter Frequency Response
The above graph shows the soundbar’s frequency response from 150Hz to 20kHz. The large peak at 280Hz can be partially explained by room interaction. The sharp drop off at about 280Hz shows an abnormally high, high-pass filter. This explains why I heard vocals come through the sub during my listening tests. I have no doubt that the overall sound quality of the system would improve if the crossover frequency was lowered. Otherwise, the response is remarkably flat, other than a hump between 600Hz and 1kHz. It should be noted that this is a measurement of the left channel alone. Significant comb filtering was shown in measurements that used both channels, a predictable problem with the wide tweeter placement.
Subwoofer In-room 1 meter Groundplane Frequency Response
Normally I would measure the subwoofer without the rest of the speakers in a system enabled, but since this subwoofer is wireless, the soundbar also had to be active. Therefore, the above graph does not show a clear roll-off from the subwoofer’s low-pass filter. Still, you can see the high-pass filter kick in at about 50Hz, leading to a rough frequency response of 50Hz-250Hz +/-5dB. With a 6” driver and 2” port, I wouldn’t expect the unit to play any lower. In fact, when given a constant 50Hz tone, port chuffing was audible.
In-room Auto Setup Calibration Comparison
This last chart simply shows the results of running Samsung’s Auto Setup Calibration system. The measurements were taken at my listening position, with all settings (including subwoofer level) at default. I have never measured such poor results from any setup system. With a nearly 15dB cut at 3kHz and 7kHz, it’s easy to see why the EQ made voices sound muffled and recessed during my listening tests. Most auto setup systems are shifting their focus to do less correction in the mid and high frequencies, and instead make large changes in bass response. This was obviously not the case here. Luckily, as I said earlier, the EQ that ASC applied can be easily disabled.
HW-F750 Suggestions for improvement
The F750 is a form over function product, so naturally, I have a number of suggestions to improve its functionality. First, the remote needs to be redesigned. It should do one thing well, rather than two things poorly. Focus on the soundbar. If Samsung is worried about easy remote integration with other devices, then they should follow the lead of other manufacturers, like Polk Audio and Boston Acoustics; both of whom incorporate IR learning into the soundbar. This way, the soundbar can learn to respond to any IR remote.
I would also ditch the dual orientation, or at least implement it more effectively. It has a sort of “cool factor”, but the cost of having two sets of drivers, two IR receivers, two LED displays, and the gyro to detect orientation cuts into the available space and money for a single set of high quality components. A single orientation design might allow for a bass reflex or transmission line system, or the use of larger drivers. If they are concerned about making a soundbar that’s too tall, blocking the IR signal for the TV, then incorporate an IR receiver on the front of the soundbar and an IR blaster on the back. This allows the soundbar to pass through the IR signal for the TV. Yamaha does this with their $249 YAS-101. If Samsung wants to stick with dual orientation, then I would recommend using some sort of DSP to more effectively use the second set of drivers. Instead of simply playing the same audio as the main drivers, just quieter, use them for surround effects.
Samsung HW-F750 Vacuum Tubes and Display
The subwoofer coupled with the F750 is very disappointing. I would expect to see it packaged with soundbar/sub combos in the $400 range, but the F750 combo costs double. It can’t dream of competing with a true, standalone subwoofer. Pioneer’s SW-8MK2 for a poultry $159 outpaces it in every area, except built-in wireless and glossy finish. Even the subwoofer packaged with Harman Kardon’s $599 SB16 soundbar has a glossy finish, is wireless, weighs over double the F750’s subwoofer, and has a 10” driver (granted, it’s pretty large as well).
The Auto Sound Calibration performance was also dismal, at least in my listening area (these systems can work better/worse in different listening environments). And the surround effects, as noted in the listening tests, were very poor as well. I might suggest buying existing technologies for these two areas, like Dolby Virtual Speaker for surround effects.
And what about the vacuum tubes? From the onset I was worried that the tubes were simply a ploy to lure in unsuspecting self-proclaimed audiophiles. Surely, it was a genius marketing move. It set the F750 apart from any other soundbar on the market and created a lot of buzz. But Samsung didn’t carry the promise through to the end. The focus on sound quality stopped right after the fancy tubes, died a little with the dual orientation/driver quality, and completely fizzled out with the subwoofer.
I applaud Samsung for daring to make a more expensive soundbar than any of their immediate competition, but they failed to realize that the hi-fi market plays by different rules. Entry level products need to focus on features in order to gain attention. With Audiophile products, an excess of features is often viewed as a sign of poor quality. The HW-F750 sounds as good as any Samsung soundbar I have heard in the past. I’m sure it would look great mounted under a slim LED TV, and for the average consumer the sound quality will be impressive. In my opinion it's still a better deal than the overpriced/under-performing Bose CineMate 1 SR. But, when you charge a premium price and tout the inclusion of vacuum tubes as a signal that the product has exceptional sound quality, you better be prepared to bring the goods. But no such goods were brought. In the end, the HW-F750 has the looks, features, and decent sound quality demanded by the mass market, but true Audiophiles should move on.
The Score Card
The scoring below is based on each piece of equipment doing the duty it is designed for. The numbers are weighed heavily with respect to the individual cost of each unit, thus giving a rating roughly equal to:
Performance × Price Factor/Value = Rating
Audioholics.com note: The ratings indicated below are based on subjective listening and objective testing of the product in question. The rating scale is based on performance/value ratio. If you notice better performing products in future reviews that have lower numbers in certain areas, be aware that the value factor is most likely the culprit. Other Audioholics reviewers may rate products solely based on performance, and each reviewer has his/her own system for ratings.
Audioholics Rating Scale
- — Excellent
- — Very Good
- — Good
- — Fair
- — Poor
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Regardless of the warm glow that soundbar may have, it is still a Samsung audio device. No different, the sound dock they offer (vac tube/dig amp) sounds no better than the audiovox alarm clock radio I have next to my bed! None of these gimmicked devices are worth the time and money.
I'm not saying everything the company offers is worthless. Samsung has some great displays, phones, and home appliances. We have owned many of each offering in our home and have been extremely happy with the performance of various Samsung products. Sadly, the audio gear offered by Samsung has always seemed lackluster to me.
In this case, Samsung should have their tubes tied and give up the upper-end game with audio products.
Having just purchased this soundbar I can say for certain this is not aimed at an audiophile no way in hell. You can tell simply be looking at the control, or lack thereof, of the unit's sound behaviour. It's aimed at audiophile as much as a DSLR camera from Nikon or Canon that has a full frame sensor yet doesn't have aperture or shutter speed controls is aimed at camera enthusiasts. Having said that though, it doesn't mean the vacuum tubes are for nothing because the HW-F750 produces are very pleasant sound at least to me.
Having read a few people say that the HW-F750 doesn't sound any better than the HW-F450 I can only conclude that those people need their ears cleaned out with an electric drill. My mother has an HW-F450 and I can only call that unit horrible. It constantly produces this awful, overdone and out of control subwoofer grumble like it seriously has no idea what to do and in its confusion throws out anything out of the subwoofer in a panic. Listening to the HW-F450 is like having a plastic bag taped over my hear and I'm gasping for air now I know how The Boss and The Rabbi felt at the end of Lucky Number Slevin. Sorry mother but I wouldn't wish the HW-F450 on anyone!
The HW-F750 on the other hand produces sound that holds together extremely well. As a standard and so you know where I'm coming from, I typically use 2 audio sources for cinema and music and this unit does very well at both. The first is Transformers where many systems throw out the “clanking” of the machines in one horrible mess with one sound being indistinguishable from another. The music sample of choice is The Unfolding by Lisa Gerrard and I was hugely impressed by the HW-F750's ability to hold it together for this. There are a couple of music style that this doesn't like so I would listen to it with what you like to play before if it matters to you.
Don't get me wrong, the HW-F750 is far from perfect. The subwoofer is small and there's no getting around that. If you like your subwoofer to thump out the audio so that you're not only annoying your neighbours you're annoying your entire suburb this is not for you and I suggest you look elsewhere. For my own purposes though, as I have a limited space to put a subwoofer without pretty much putting it in the middle of my sitting room the size is fine. I also typically watch TV at night where I don't need or want the excessive volumes. Furthermore I more watch TV series for the most part so the cinematic 5.1 experience is less important. I'm not even sure if I get a 5.1 sound signal from my satellite service provide half the time. No matter what the manufacturer's spam says a soundbar isn't going to give you anything but 2.1 sound so if you want 5.1 buy a 5.1 system. At best I can get a 3.1 plus a left and right given my sitting room so no matter what 5.1 system I looked at it was always going to result in a front heavy sound anyway so why bother with all the crap and all the piles of cables?
Given the width of the speaker unit you may find that it impedes the IR sensor of your TV if you're below 46“. I have a Samsung 46F6670 and while it is a few cms within the TV's width I notice I have to point my remote more at the TV rather than previously not caring where it was pointed. The bonus part of the HW-F750 for me though is that when in tabletop orientation it has an extremely low profile. My Samsung TV has pedestal stand rather than the more typical 4 prong stand and as such it sits very low. The very low height of the main speakers means I can actually place it on top of the pedestal I neither have to raise the TV nor do I need to place it in front of the pedestal which saves me a huge amount of depth making it occupy no more space than the TV already does. Being on top of my pedestal it covers my cables at the rear from sight and allows me to regain 15-20cm back from my room if I cared to replace the furniture it sits upon which is rather significant. By the way, the HW-F750 doesn't sound spectacular when you're close up to it. Whether it's a thing with this unit, soundbars in general or the placement of my subwoofer (which isn't in the best place for optimal sound) I'm not sure but I wouldn't recommend being closer than 2.5m from it.
When it comes to the irks firstly, the ASC setup is horrendous. Why there seems to be no other way to initiate it other than when you plug in the sensor nor does the sensor have a clicker on it which is mental. With the lit display on the unit itself it is really cute how that if it's in a tabletop orientation it uses the thin side to light up and when it's wall mounted it uses the other side. It's cute up until you want to use the buttons on the unit when it's in tabletop mode, and where the expected vertical position of the unit is at waist height or lower, and you can't see [email protected]#$ because the front display is active and not the top display. If you're pushing the buttons both should light up! I don't know where the eyes are on a Samsung engineer but for normal people the answer is ”not there!“. And just an FYI, I've seen a lot of pictures of the HW-F750 sat in the wall mounted orientation but on a table in front of a TV. It doesn't work either you're impeding the speakers else if you turn it over it doesn't work (the display lights up but it doesn't work when upside down). It's a little weird that wall mounted the speakers are forward and down and when in the other orientation they're forward and up. I guess there's some interesting insight into the logic process of a Korean.
I know that Samsung were royally stung by Apple for over a $ billion but to not add wifi to HW-F750 and have this as an AirPlay (and I guess their own AllShare) destination is crazy, that goes for their TVs as well which already have wifi. With the addition of AirPlay/AllShare it would enable me to wall mount these all over the place for an ”all over the home" solution rather cheaply and neatly. For that matter it may even go really nicely as an unobtrusive desktop computer sound system. I don't get the closing off of the potential versatility of this unit for the sake of pennies.
Overall though I really like the HW-F750. It's a well performing soundbar and while it isn't perfect and does have its limitations, and will do better/worse depending on the particular circumstances one has (more so than a 5.1 unit), it perfectly suits my usage and physical constraints, not to mention came at a price that's far more reasonable that other solutions.
Steve81, post: 971088
I'm hearing product of the year buzz
Great Guess Steve!
I'm thinking about it. But I'm also considering the Bose CineMate 1 SR
Did you see the Acoustimass module with that beast? Dude, it weighs nearly 14 pounds! That would probably take 3 people to place in a room!
I bet that could put out, I don't know, maybe a 100Hz note at reference volume levels for a fraction of a second. Mind blown! That's some deep, bowel shaking bass!
And the price is a bargain, only $1500. Man, I'd pay $1500 just for the Bose name badge. In fact, I might try to get some and slap them over the logos on my current stuff. Who's heard of crappy brands like MartinLogan, Denon, or Emotiva anyway!
Can't wait to get one in for review. I will probably end up keeping it and using it as my reference speaker system.
admin, post: 971086
But hold up, if you haven't read the review yet, take a guess in the forum thread on what you think we found.
I'm hearing product of the year buzz